- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America (2007)
- ASIN: B004CGXJTC
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
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The Used World (Audiocassettes) (Unabridged) Unknown Binding – 2007
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Complete & Unabridged, Narrated by C.J. Critt, 9 Audio Cassettes, Playing Time: 13 hrs, 55 Minutes.
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I became captivated by the three main characters, complex women born about 20 years apart, and representing very different aspects of Midwestern America. The book illuminates religious separatism and fanaticism, sexuality, morality and evil, America's changing character from farm to dead- end small towns. Rich and poor have secret lives, and the sordid coexists with the noble. In Haven Kimmel's novel, the bad guys are human-- they operate from a world view that vindicates them in their own eyes. We are invited to see through their eyes as well.
When big box stores drive away those in the heart of this small town, there are mourners, but also some who are scornful of the folks who do: One character is overheard saying, "You show me a place downtown where I can get new tires for my truck, bullets for my rifle, and a six-pack of briefs all at once and I’m there. Oh, and don’t forget the popcorn and Slushie I’ll need on the way out the door.’” He is one of the once- strong men who grew up on farms but have grown slack and bewildered within their own culture.
I've seen criticisms that the novel skips around in time. I feel that those skips are essential to the plot's suspense. I did sometimes find it confusing, because the transitions between plot segments weren't always immediately clear. It's possible that may be a characteristic of the e-book version and not of the print novel.
With some modern writers, I wince at poor choices of words or a weak description that is out of character. Kimmel's writing has no hint of that: her use of language is both elegant and eloquent. She creates a moving meditation on the difficulties of consigning people and their choices to tidy categories of good and evil.
Claudia, a large woman who is often mistaken for a man, has lived a loveless existence, but then an unexpected blessing arrives in the form of an infant - a new life that she takes responsibility for - and when she adds Rebekah to the mix, she has a family of her own.
Rebekah, abandoned and cast out by her father, a fundamentalist Christian who expects her to abide by his rules and restrictions, accepts the love and support of Claudia - and later Hazel - in order to create an acceptable alternative to the life in which she was born.
These three characters could be metaphors for the "used" goods that they sell in the store - castoff individuals - unwanted, but serving a purpose of their own.
The three women, who support one another, serve as a balm for the ills of the world in which they live.
Ms. Kimmel's The Used World: A Novel draws the reader in. I cared about the fate of the characters and enjoyed the book immensely. In the beginning, I had a little difficulty keeping track of the time and place of events, that seemingly went back and forth continuously; hence the deduction of one star.